Anthony Barr is not known to be on the trade block, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made sure to dispel a previously unknown rumor.
As the Minnesota Vikings have gotten contract extensions done with linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and wide receiver Stefon Diggs in recent months, linebacker Anthony Barr has become the last in line among the team’s most notable pending free agents for a new deal.
Barr did not participate in team drills on Thursday. Rather than defer to not wanting to talk about it, or vaguely citing an injury, he had an interesting comment.
“There was a reason for that.” “I’m not able to discuss that. Any questions about that, talk to the head man.”
Mike Zimmer is surely who Barr referred to as “the head man.” Beyond any possible injury situation to be concerned with, the Vikings head coach added a layer to things regarding Barr during media availability on Friday.
Apparently, unknown to anyone else who would be aware of such a thing, there was a rumor out there that Barr was on the trade block. So Zimmer “unequivocally” dismissed it, citing a “tweak” as the reason for Barr’s absence from practice on Thursday.
It’s quite possible contract negotiations between the Vikings and Barr’s agent are not going well. His market value is hard to pin down, as a 4-3 outside linebacker with 10.5 sacks in four seasons amid occasional questions about his effort level.
But he has reportedly been working with the defensive line during camp, after doing so during offseason work, with a pretty clear eye on a bigger role as a pass rusher this year.
Absent a new deal with the Vikings between now and then, a double-digit sack season would elevate Barr’s asking price in kind come next March. But Zimmer clearly sees Barr as a key piece of his defense, and the blunt honesty on a previously unknown rumor can be appreciated.